We sorted out a trip for Friday out to the islands to do some kayaking and snorkeling where Leon, the owner of the Baja Outpost, advised us of some things to be aware of during our stay here in Loreto. The first danger is the stingrays which lie along the waters of the sandy beaches, very important to shuffle your feet when entering the water. The other major danger in Loreto in his opinion is eating at a Taco stand, best to avoid if you don't want to spend a few days in the bathroom. A little put off swimming we retired back to the cool of the courtyard.
Earliest start yet, we had to be down at the Baja Outpost for 7.45am to sort out our snorkeling gear and enjoy a spot of breakfast before heading out. Even though the water is so warm here we had to get wetsuits due to the jellyfish. We met a couple on holiday here, Susan and Michael, from Santa Cruz who are avid divers and were heading out with us to go diving.
Kiki, his son Sedan and their dog Chloe were our guides for the day. On the way out we spotted a pod of dolphins with a few babies which were incredible. They dropped us out at one of the islands 'XXXX' and left us to enjoy this quiet paradise. We really felt like we were in an episode of 'Lost' with three vultures perched on a shed ready to 'greet' us and bugs that looked like they are on steroids. Bumblebees were the size of golf balls and dragonflies were like small birds.
The water was incredibly clear and like being in an aquarium.
Gareth spent hours out snorkeling, so much so that I paddled out in the kayak to look for him and make sure he was okay. We had no sooner finished lunch when the boat came back in to collect us. Sadly we felt our island visit was too short and could've spent a few more hours out enjoying it all. After a cool shower, the sea here is incredibly salty, we went in search of some cool refreshments and enjoyed some cold beers and margaritas overlooking the sea. Our host Bruce had had some fresh Dorado dropped off by a friend and invited us to share this with him and Roberta at one of his favourite local restaurants, 'Augies'. It felt like we were in Mahia enjoying freshly caught fish. Our fish was prepared in three different styles; cerviche, grilled and lightly crumbed accompanied with beans, rice and tortillas, simply yummy! We finished off the night with a drink at the 'Giggling Dolphins' and were kept entertained by the bartender who was up for a few rounds of tequila!
A late start and lazy day ensued. Bruce and Roberta treated us to a sumptuous breakfast of fresh bread that Roberta had whipped up with the bread maker accompanied with a chorizo dish, Bruce's special recipe. Gareth not ever able to go too long without doing some sort of computer work hooked up Bruce's wireless modem so that his guest house now offers wifi. We are feeling very at home here and loving Loreto. The people are very friendly and it's all very low key. Unlike Rosarito where we were constantly harassed to buy jewelery & souvenirs, take a taxi or eat and drink at all the different places open, in Loreto people smile, say hello and leave you to enjoy the city as you please. Later in the afternoon we ventured off the beaten tourist path to Juancilito, a neighbouring village about 23km away from Loreto. It's a small community set in around the mountains along a beautiful bay. There's no electricity so solar panels are how everyone gets by. Bruce, Gareth and I then returned back to Loreto to enjoy dinner at Mita Gourmet, a newly opened restaurant in the heart of the historic centre. The setting is so beautiful it's hard to describe, some things are best just experienced. The owner/chef personally took our orders and cooked our orders to our personal likings. The seafood linguine was just delicious and Gareth enjoyed the seafood stuffed fish, all so fresh, the perfect end to another great day. Next stop La Paz, only 5 hours on a bus, it's time to learn the lingo!
Crossing from the Pacific side of the Baja Peninsula to the Sea of Cortez the scenery changed dramatically. Miles of desert like land covered in cactus and surrounded by mountains it was incredible watching the sun come up over this. Catching a glimpse of the ocean as we got nearer was like breathing a sigh of relief. After 18 long hours on the bus we finally arrived in Loreto. The bus was surprisingly comfortable with plenty of leg room and seats which reclined so you could almost lie flat. They even had TVs and played movies, thankfully in English with Spanish subtitles which made passing the time more enjoyable. And not one chicken in sight! The military checks along the way had been pretty painless with only one fright; waking up around midnight to find a soldier on board complete with a huge gun, best option was to go right back to sleep or try to anyway. It seems that going South the military checks are light, going North is where they are incredibly thorough doing complete vehicle searches and random luggage ones. Stepping off the bus it was incredibly hot and only intensified as we walked the 2km directly to Cocos Cabanas, a hotel we liked the sound of as it had a pool. Hot, sweaty, dusty and tired I nearly cried when we arrived only to find a 'no vacancy' sign posted on the door. The owner, Barrett, was really helpful and recommended a place round the corner owned by his mate Bruce. Bruce and his cats, Tom and Jerry, welcomed us into Mi Cortez Zone with a cold beer in the blissfully cool courtyard and instantly made us feel at home. After a much needed cold shower we went out to check out Loreto and find some lunch although admittedly it felt like it should be dinner, we felt as though we had jet lag.